Tuesday, October 1, 2013

30 Days and Still Growing....

September has been a busy month.  It's been a month of discipline, dedication, commitment,  and completion.  It's been a month of challenges, changes and growth.  .

My September was filled with some pretty exciting physical fitness challenges ~

  •  I committed to a 30-day workout challenge and completed it yesterday.  I'm happy to report that in these 30 days not only was I able to complete 100 Burpee's (10 sets of 10 with 30 second rest), but I've also had the ability to hold a plank for 5 minutes (no rest or pauses!) This was 30 days of committing to doing one, the other or both.  There were times when I didn't want to do them because I was tired with good reason, or feeling sick, but I did them. This challenge also taught me a good lesson on integrity.  A couple weeks back, I had completed a 2 Day 175 mile Bike Ride.  On the Sunday I came home, I was exhausted.  I didn't want to do them.  I recall voicing this aloud and my daughter said, well do them tomorrow.  It could have been that easy, but when you want to be an example to others and live with integrity and truth as a foundation of your life;  "DOING" only when God and you know the truth, is far more important on building that character of integrity.  I could not write this blog with a heart of truth, guilt free, if I hadn't done what I was set to do.  For the challenge, I did rest in between burpee sets and on the day that I didn't want to do my workout, I did have to pause 3x to rest during my 3 1/2 minute plank workout.  Other than that, I've been able to do the plank workouts without rest.  I started at 30 seconds and completed it at 5 minutes.  The 30 Day Plank Challenge was one that challenged me spirtually, physically and mentally and  I thank my daughter for testing my integrity.
I always have a motivational song to get me though hard workouts.  This one got me through a non-stop 5 minute plank.  Day 30 COMPLETE!
100 Bupree Challenge DONE! 10 sets of 10 with a 30 second rest in between.  Feeling STRONG!  
  • On September 1st, I participated in "The Race to the End of Summer" Half Marathon. This race showed evidence of my of spiritual growth as I finished the race in 2 hours and 32 minutes.  In my past I would have been crushed, angry and filled with frustration with this time, but since I've changed the way I think about running, I am no longer filled with those negative (and for me unhealthy) feelings or thoughts. Instead I find myself thankful for my ability to walk, to jog, to run. I find myself praising God for the blessings of spending 2 1/2 hours with Him outdoors in nature, listening to my praise music, enjoying the people around me and praying to Him. Growth ~ ABSOLUTELY and only possible by the transformation of my mind.

Races are better when you do them with those you LVE!

As September rolled around, I knew I really needed to get some cycling miles in for preparation of my MS:Waves to Wine event near the end of the month.  I incorporated a few long rides (my longest was 67 miles, as well as to get as many spin classes in as possible. In the process I connected with two amazing women.  The spin instructor at my gym and her daughter. I can't explain the connection, but I know it is a relationship placed in my life for a purpose, perhaps for encouragement, but I believe far more. I am grateful for the positive spirit they both possess and hope to grow a deeper relationship with them both.  

  • On September 21-22nd I participated in the MS:Waves to Wine Bike Ride. It was a two day event. Day one I cycled 100 miles along the California coastline. Starting in San Francisco and ending in Petaluma. I would like to say the ride went smooth but we were met with some outrageous rain for a good 40 miles of our ride. The first 10 I hoped the gray skies would just tease us of an overcast day. But shortly after reaching the Golden Gate Bridge it began to drizzle and by the time we got into Saulsalido it began raining. I'm thankful the temperature was fairly warmer than normal which made the rain bearable. As we stopped at the first rest stop the rain began pouring like crazy! We hung out for about 15 minutes in hopes the rain would let up, it did not.  We choose to get moving and it did make the next few hours or riding, a bit scary. Scary because I didn't realize with such wet tires you basically lose your rear breaks. 10 miles on windy parts of highway 1 is pretty scary when all you have to stop yourself with is front brakes.  This put our average speed at a mere 10 miles an hour; which I am not complaining about by all means!  At the halfway point (50 Miles) the rain let up and the remainder of the ride was on dry land.  The conditions from the morning took a toll physically and mentally on me as I struggled on the remaining course.  Met with some pretty challenging hills, we finished day one in 10 hours 30 minutes.  The great thing about this ride is that, "It is not a race," it's a ride with several rest stops to have the opportunity to rest and relax if needed. The second day's ride was perfect.  It included rolling hills through Petaluma and Santa Rosa. One of the memorable experiences on day two was that one of the rest stops happened to be held at Windsor High School.  The location of my last year's Ironman Event.  It brought back great memories!  Overall, the two day event was amazing and next year we plan on doing it again, and hopefully get a larger group to get involved.

 MS WAVES TO WINE 2013 - "Team Marie" & "Our Linda"

Recapping my "Physical" accomplishments, let me start by giving praise to my creator for giving me the ability to DO what I have.  It's only because of Him that it is possible.  It's a gift.

After my ride, my immune system was pretty shot. But even being sick, I stuck to my word, challenged myself and looked to Christ for strength.

Lessons learned ..... The planks taught me stillness even in a workout.  I found myself still in the presence of God. It's taught me how to be quiet in mind and pray, to be focused. And if my worship music happened to be on, I focus on the lyrics and sung to Him from the depths of my heart. In those still minutes I am with Him.  I never knew that I could glorify God in that way and it's pretty amazing to see how He can show up in all places of our life.

As for the spiritual and mental aspect of my growth ~ I've been filling my mind with God's word, insightful books, nightly devotionals, wise counsel and committed the next two years to serve others.  This growth far passes any phsyical achievements I've made, because in the end, those achievements will stay here on earth.  I can't take my medals with me.  Perhaps I can inspire someone but, for me the bigger impact I want to make is not so much on the "WHAT" but WHO I'm making a difference to.

  • I've complete three books.  The first book I finished was called "S.H.A.P.E." and it helped me learn and understand what spiritual gifts are, how to discover mine and put them into action. In completing this book a ministry opportunity opened up at my church.  On September 9th I attended and committed to be trained as a Stephen Minister.  This is an exciting time for me because it will allow me to serve others and use my spiritual gifts.  The second book I finished was called "Gods at War."  This book is definitely a re-read.  It opened up my eyes to the different Gods that fight for our soul.  It also showed me how often I allow Pride to overpower my life and I put myself as a God.  With my upcoming surgery in two weeks, this will be a good time to be still with God and work on the things I struggle with most.  Lastly, the third book I completed was called, "Choosing God's Best."  It explains the differences between courting and dating. It shows what Godly relationships look like compared to what society has programmed us to think it should look like.  Being that I've been in a relationship for 3 1/2 years now, it is teaching both of us how we need to look to God first and place Him above all.  Being on the same page and reading this book together I feel it has strengthened our relationship.  Our intimacy with God will create a greater intimacy with one another.
  • I've begun my 3rd Christian's Mental Health Class through Northern California Bible College (NCBC.)  This semester it focuses on biblical answers to our emotional needs.  This is an exciting class because I know that often I do things based off emotions and feelings and I believe this class will help me learn to make decisions based off a biblical standpoint rather than an emotional one, which usually gets me into trouble.

  • I've also enrolled back into junior college to finish up my degree.  With 3 classes left to complete my AS in Accounting, this semester I'm tackling an Excel class.   

  • As mentioned earlier, I've committed to a long term ministry opportunity as a Stephen Minister.  I will have 50 hours of training over a 20 week span.  I then will commit another year of one on one services with a care receiver.  This is the most exciting journey for me.  I can't wait to see how God will use me in this ministry.  It is something I have a deep desire and longing for and it's my prayer that He will use me to the fullest for His glory!

So there it is......SEPTEMBER DONE!

I am so thankful for all the opportunities that have been placed before me.  I'm thankful for the people in my life who hold me accountable and encourage me to keep pressing forward.  I'm thankful for my brothers and sisters in Christ who speak the truth to me in love and how I see God work through them to help me.

As my surgery approaches, this next month will be a month of rest and stillness.  It will be challenging as I work on removing the ugliness of Pride from my life, learn what it really means to be humble and allow others to care, love and help me when I will need them the most. As one of my BFF's told me yesterday, "You have to stop being independent and be interdependent."  Words to live by.....Definitely words of wisdom, spoken with love and truth from an amazing woman of wisdom.  Thank you Jesus for her and help me continue to be BOLD for your Kingdom! ♥ 

 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor ~ Romans 12:10

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